This apple pie moonshine, made with vodka, apple cider, lemon, ginger, and spices, is strong, spectacular, and pretty high proof. Here’s how to make it.
Curious about the story behind apple pie moonshine? According to author Vivian Howard, “When bootleggers had to hide their shine, they’d mix it with apple cider and store it in the cider jug. The juice-colored camouflage quelled suspicion and made white lightning easier to drink. Eventually apple pie moonshine, also called applejack, became a concoction moonshiners hung their hat on.” Words cannot contain the brilliance behind this. And it’s also brilliantly easy to toss together. Just combine apple cider, spices, vodka, and apples, wait a few hours, and then splash it in a punch bowl, pour it into Mason jars, or just keep it all to yourself and indulge in a nip every once in a while. This apple pie moonshine recipe makes a blissfully ginormous batch. You can easily cut the recipe in half for a smaller batch, although we do have to question, why would you want to do such a thing?! Originally published November 23, 2016.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Special Equipment: Mason jars
Apple Pie Moonshine
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 10 H, 30 M
- Makes about 1 1/2 gallons (5.7 liters)
- 1 gallon apple cider
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 4 small lemons, halved, preferably organic
- 2 small navel oranges, halved, preferably organic
- 4 whole cloves
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 star anise
- Two (2-inch) pieces ginger root, peeled
- 4 cups moonshine (or substitute unflavored vodka)
- 4 apples, unpeeled and quartered (any variety), preferably organic
- 1. In a 2-gallon (7.6-liter) pot, bring the cider, sugar, lemons, oranges, spices, and ginger to a gentle boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and let it cool completely.
- 2. Stir the moonshine and apples into the cooled cider. Cover and let it sit overnight at room temperature.
- 3. The next day, remove and discard the citrus. Take a nip and, if a stronger spice flavor is desired, leave the spices in the moonshine; otherwise, strain them out. Transfer the apple pie moonshine to 1-quart Mason jars with lids wide enough to contain the apples. Screw on the lids and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve or gift your apple pie moonshine. (If you can, put this apple pie moonshine together ahead of time and let it mellow in the fridge for a week.)
- 4. When you’re ready to impress friends or just get a little tipsy, serve your apple pie moonshine chilled over ice.